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JON TRIBBLE                                            

Amateur Night at the Prime Tyme


W unsized 2219ho knew this town had so much flesh in it?
The dancer drops her head between her legs,
and men who can’t afford another drink

reach deep to come up with a couple of bucks
to get her to remove another shred of pink
rip-away T-shirt clinging to her shoulders

like junk mail poking from the lip of a mailbox
at an abandoned apartment she left in Malvern
or El Dorado. There is only so much one can pay

to see, but tonight it’s here, where leftover
green beer goes for eight bucks a pitcher,
stale popcorn and peanuts two-fifty a basket;

but it’s not sustenance they come for unless to feed
a lonely imagination or half-forgotten lust—free
to anyone who’s paid the membership fee at the door.

Tomorrow she might be checking out customers
at the Mad Butcher or stocking shelves at 7-11;
she could be calling from Sears or flipping burgers

at Dairy Queen, whatever she wakes for to pay the bills
and rent, invisible behind a smile or frown, cheerful
hello or impersonal grunt. Now she’s more spectacle

than any daylight life could shadow, the thong
of her G-string disappearing before the mirror
of blank faces that give back only their reflections,

wives and girlfriends and magazines and passing
glances staring through the gyrations, shimmering from
lubricious skin jiggling along to the forgettable music.

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